This Sunday in Clitheroe our First Communion children join us for Mass before going over to the school to learn about prayer while their parents join me to reflect on prayer in family life. In Sabden this session will be on Saturday morning. Then at next Sunday’s masses in both churches the children return to celebrate prayer in their lives and for the first time the new Youth choir will lead the singing in Clitheroe.
The Parish Forum meets on Wednesday when a new chair will be elected. The constitution states: The forum is chaired by a parishioner elected by the forum to serve for three years. He/she may not serve for two consecutive periods. So we shall thank Peter White who has carried the torch well for the past three years and invite him to fulfil his final task and supervise the election of his successor. Margaret Donnelly, the secretary, has also completed a three year term but, unlike the chair, may stand again for election.
Many parishioners may remember when baptisms were conferred on Sunday afternoon at around 3 o’clock in most churches and the congregations consisted of maybe a dozen close family and friends. Times have changed and now the majority of baptisms are attended by congregations of 50 or more with relatives travelling considerable distances and are usually followed by a family party. Mid-afternoon is considered rather late to accommodate this and so we baptise at 12noon. While Fr Frankie is here this doesn’t present an insuperable problem but increasingly Sundays are becoming more congested and, of course, Fr Frankie is only here for another two years at the very most. So for Clitheroe, I propose to move Baptisms to 12.30 on Saturdays. Saturday has an evening Mass so the noon Eucharistic service, which is attended by fewer and fewer, will cease but Exposition, Reconciliation and the Rosary will continue.
Another development is the increasingly frequent requests for more than two Godparents: 6 is not unknown! Church regulations envisage either a single or two Godparents. If there are two, they may be of one or either gender.
The Godparents task is an important one. They are to take an interest in the child’s spiritual development and help the parents with this responsibility. So, for instance, if parents can’t bring a child to Mass then the Godparent should! Church regulation is that at least one Godparent must be a practising Catholic and the other at least a baptised Christian. Sadly, experience is that when there are more than two Godparents they are unlikely to take a real interest in the child.
So come along for a lively debate on Wednesday.